Virgin Media Stream Box

Last updated: 05 January 2024   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Virgin Media Stream is a new way for Virgin broadband customers to access premium content on a flexible basis.

The Virgin Media Stream Box costs just £35 upfront and then there are no ongoing monthly costs to keep the service.

Customers can choose to use Virgin Media Stream to watch Freeview and catch-up, as well as subscribe to premium channel packs and on-demand apps.

Stream also includes a 10% bill credit on any premium subscriptions bought through the box, including Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, TNT Sports, Netflix, Disney+, and Paramount+.

virgin media stream
Credit: Virginmedia.com

At a glance

Price From free
Setup cost £35
Minimum term 30 days
Required broadband speed Minimum 50Mbps
TV channels 50+ Freeview
On-demand apps Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Paramount+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, All4, My5, Britbox, YouTube
TV box Stream Box
Pros Cons
10% bill credit on all subscriptions Less channels than Virgin TV 360
No aerial needed to watch Freeview Only available with Virgin broadband
Flexible monthly contracts on TV packs Fewer apps than Sky Stream Puck
Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
M125 Fibre Broadband + Stream 52 132Mb average £26 £35 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £26 per month + Get 10% Stream credit back on every subscription you add to Stream
M250 Fibre Broadband + Stream 52 264Mb average £29 £35 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £29 per month + Get 10% Stream credit back on every subscription you add to Stream

Who is Virgin Media Stream best suited for?

Virgin Media Stream is a low-cost, flexible alternative to traditional pay TV deals. It'll best suit households who already watch streaming apps along with some Freeview channels like BBC and ITV.

Stream Box from Virgin does have the added benefit over other streaming boxes that customers can add premium channel packs such as Sky Sports in HD, Sky Cinema in HD and TNT Sports in HD and 4K.

Customers of Stream can add and cancel apps and channel packs from month-to-month, so they only need to be paying for what they're actually watching.

The biggest caveat to Virgin Media Stream however is it's exclusively available to Virgin Media broadband customers, and that means only homes on its network can access it.

People who can't get Virgin Media broadband should look to the closest alternative from Sky however, as Sky Stream Puck can be taken on any broadband deal so is available across the whole of the UK.


What does Virgin Media Stream offer?

Virgin Media Stream is the provider's foray into offering a streaming based TV platform that delivers content over a broadband connection, first launched in April 2022.

It's available exclusively to Virgin Media broadband customers, and while there is no ongoing monthly fee, customers have to pay a £35 one off fee to get the box.

The Stream Box has Freeview built-in, and also supports the main free-to-air catch-up apps including BBC iPlayer, ITVX, All4, My5, and YouTube.

However, if customers are willing to spend more, they can add a range of premium channel packs to their subscription on a rolling monthly basis, as well as access a number of subscription-based streaming apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, and more recently, Paramount+.

One added bonus of Virgin Media Stream is the 10% credit offer, which means customers get 10% off all subscription services, which is added to their bill as a credit against future payments. It also means some of the channel packs are cheaper on Stream than with any other service.

Stream + broadband

Virgin Media Stream Box can be added to any of Virgin's broadband deals from M50 right up to the UK's fastest broadband offered by Gig1.

The cheapest way to get Virgin Media Stream is by adding it to Virgin's M125 Fibre Broadband package, which currently costs just £26.50 per month for new customers.

Here are the latest prices for Virgin Media broadband:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
M125 Fibre Broadband + Stream 132Mb average £26 £35 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £26 per month + Get 10% Stream credit back on every subscription you add to Stream
M250 Fibre Broadband + Stream 264Mb average £29 £35 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £29 per month + Get 10% Stream credit back on every subscription you add to Stream
M350 Fibre Broadband + Stream 362Mb average £35 £35 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £35 per month + Get 10% Stream credit back on every subscription you add to Stream
M500 Fibre Broadband + Stream 516Mb average £35 £35 18 months
offer Offer: 500Mb broadband for the price of 350Mb + Get 10% Stream credit back on every subscription you add to Stream

New customers can add Virgin Media Stream to their broadband plan in the checkout process. The Stream Box will then be sent out to customers to install and setup themselves.

While broadband-only plans are the cheapest ways to get Virgin Media, some of the best value for money deals are found with Virgin Media Volt bundles, which boost the broadband speed and include an O2 mobile SIM.

The only downside to the Stream service then is availability is limited to households on the Virgin Media network. While they've so far covered over 16.1 million premises, which is around 55% of the UK, they're still expanding to more properties with a target of 23 million by the end of 2026.

Read more about Virgin Media broadband, or check availability in your area.


How does Virgin Media Stream Box work?

The Virgin Media Stream Box connects to the Internet over WiFi, or users can connect to their router directly through ethernet via the supplied power cable.

The Stream Box has just two sockets, a HDMI for connecting the box to a TV set, and a micro USB which can be connected either to a mains power supply, or it can be powered via a USB connection to the TV.

One of the biggest benefits of the Stream Box is the ability to watch Freeview without needing a TV aerial or a satellite dish.

Unlike a more traditional pay TV subscription, like that of the TV 360 box, the Stream Box is focused on on-demand apps and creating a central hub for their existing subscriptions as well as allowing them to access extra content.

Alongside app subscriptions, premium channel packs can be added on a monthly rolling basis, which means Virgin Media Stream provides much more flexibility in comparison to Virgin's usual TV offering.

While Sky offer a closely matched rival Stream Puck service, Virgin Stream easily outperforms other streaming box sets like Netgem TV due to the wider range of content integrations on offer.


The Stream Box

Virgin Media Stream Box is a small device, not much bigger than the size of a large palm, so it will fit pretty unobtrusively in most home entertainment set ups.

Specifications of the Stream Box:

Dimensions 80mm x 80mm x 16mm
Ports 1 x HDMI v2.0b , 1 x Micro USB
Wireless Dual-band 802.11ac (WiFi 5)
Video Up to 4K Ultra HD, at 60fps with HDR
Audio Dolby Digital and Dolby Atmos passthrough
Remote Voice-enabled Bluetooth remote
Power consumption < 5W
Compatibility Hub 3 and up

While the Stream Box supports both 1080p HD and 4K Ultra HD, users will need a HD or 4K compatible TV connected via the HDMI cable.

virgin media stream box

To work effectively, Virgin Media say the Stream Box needs a minimum broadband speed of 50Mb per second, but as Virgin Media broadband starts at an average of 54Mb per second, this shouldn't limit any customers.

That said, customers may experience issues if their broadband speeds drop too low, especially during peak times of 8pm to 10pm at night when the network is busiest. Opting for plans of M125 and above may be more suitable especially for those who want to stream in 4K.

Stream interface

The interface on the Stream Box matches the kind of streamlined content-focused design we see on the Virgin TV 360 box and other set-top boxes such as Sky Stream.

Apps are centralised in a hub on the main navigation menu, with customers also able to access live TV and catch-up services easily by scrolling along the top.

There's also a search function that allows customers to easily find content from their subscriptions - useful if you want to check whether a certain film is available and don't want to scroll through lots of options to find out.

Overall, the navigation on Virgin Stream is similar to that seen on other set-top boxes and on the streaming services that it is modelling itself on. From a viewer perspective, that makes it intuitive and easy to use.

Virgin Media TV Go app

Stream content can be viewed on the move via the Virgin Media TV Go app.

For customers who have Sky Sports subscriptions through Stream, customers can use the Sky Sports app to watch those channels.

Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+ can be viewed through those provider apps as well if a customer wants to watch subscription content out of the house.


Channel packs

While Virgin Media Stream can be used just to watch Freeview and free-to-air or subscription apps, it's also possible for customers to subscribe to premium channel packs like on the main Sky and Virgin TV services.

The main benefit over the usual Virgin or Sky service however is these packs can be added on a monthly rolling basis, so customers have more flexibility over what they want to watch and how much they're spending.

Subscriptions are billed through the main Virgin Media account, and customers get a 10% discount on all packs added as a bill credit.

Customers can choose from:

Channel pack Includes Monthly price
Essential Entertainment 25 channels in HD, including Sky Max, Sky Showcase, Virgin TV Ultra, Discovery, National Geographic, and Comedy Central £12
Sky Sports HD All 8 Sky Sports channels in HD £18.75 (was £38.75)
Sky Cinema HD All 11 Sky Cinema channels in HD £10 (was £14.99)
Sky Sports & Sky Cinema HD All Sky Sports and Sky Cinema channels in HD £28.75 (was £46.25)
TNT Sports (was BT Sport) TNT Sports in HD, plus TNT Sports Ultimate in 4K £18
Kids pick Nick Jr, Nick Jr Too, Cartoonito, Boomerang, Cartoon Network HD, Nickelodeon HD, Nick Toons £2.50 (was £4)

Essential Entertainment covers the basics and includes the following channels you'd expect in a pay TV service, and all in HD:

Virgin TV Ultra Dave Sky Showcase Sky Max Comedy Central
Sky News Sky Witness Gold Alibi Sky Crime
MTV Discovery Sky Sci-Fi Sky History E!
Sky Replay National Geographic Sky Arts Sky Comedy Sky Nature
Sky Documentaries Sky Sports News Sky Sports Mix Eurosport 1 Eurosport 2

While taking all of the content plans would cost in excess of £60 per month, Virgin Media Stream is more aligned to customers only watching what they want at the time, and then removing the plan when they're no longer using it.

For example, sports fans might want to subscribe to Sky Sports or TNT Sports during a particular season or for a specific live match.

While families could choose to subscribe to Sky Cinema over the Christmas holidays so there is plenty of entertainment to keep everyone happy, while the cheaper kids pick could provide content during the rest of the year.

Ultimately, the flexibility of Virgin Media Stream is one of its biggest selling points, allowing households to access premium content while still remaining in control over their monthly expenditure so they can cut back if they need to.


On-demand and subscription apps

Virgin Media Stream Box supports a range of on-demand apps, both with free-to-air content and those accessible via a subscription.

App subscriptions can be paid for separately or bundled into the Virgin Media bill where they'll be eligible for a 10% discount.

Supported apps include:

  • Netflix
  • Prime Video
  • Disney+
  • Paramount+
  • Vimeo
  • YouTube
  • YouTube Kids
  • BBC iPlayer
  • ITVX
  • All4
  • STV Player
  • UKTV Play
  • My5
  • Britbox

The Stream Box also supports some music apps including Vevo, BBC Sounds and RadioLine, and some news apps including Al Jazeera and France 24.

While customers have a broad choice available to them, there are some notable services missing from the line-up of supported apps, including Apple TV+, Discovery+, Pluto TV, Twitch and NOW.

The reluctance of Virgin Media to integrate NOW TV services into their Steam Box at least has a basis on logic since they offer many of the same channels within their own Entertainment Essentials and Sky packs.

They have been adding more content gradually however, signing a deal with Paramount+ in November 2022, which became available to new and existing customers of the Stream Box in May 2023.

While Sky Stream Puck does support more apps, Virgin Stream Box has the added benefit of the 10% bill credit offer.


Stream 10% credit

Stream credit is an innovative discount available on the subscriptions mentioned above.

For every month a customer is subscribed to one of the packages via their Virgin Media bill, they will receive a 10% credit on their account. This credit will be applied each month the customer has an active subscription.

Stream credit is a useful way of making sure that customers benefit from taking subscriptions via their Virgin bill and keeping as many of their subscriptions in the Virgin ecosystem as possible.

It's an undeniable benefit for customers, and it's a great incentive to use Stream TV for entertainment subscriptions.


Verdict: Is Virgin Media Stream Box any good?

Virgin Media Stream offers an alternative to the traditional TV model that Virgin offer with their other TV bundles, giving customers the opportunity to be flexible about the content they pay for each month.

With a small upfront fee and no ongoing costs for the box itself, Stream is a more budget friendly way of managing TV subscriptions in an era where customers are keeping a closer eye on their outgoings than ever.

Here are some of the things we like about Stream Box from Virgin Media:

  • Only £35 upfront with no subscription costs for the box
  • Entertainment subscriptions can be added and removed each month
  • Premium content options include Sky Sports and Sky Cinema
  • Stream Box supports viewing in HD and Ultra HD
  • Stream credit gives discounts on bills

There are a couple of downsides such as the fact that certain apps haven't been added yet and there are no options to record TV in the same way you can on the Virgin TV 360.

However, Stream doesn't pretend to be a traditional pay TV package, and instead combines a number of streaming services and extra entertainment on a flexible basis, with a slick interface in a compact box.

Comments

Karen
14 January 2024

Is it any good in comparison to the 360 box?

Ross Connell
13 January 2024

Does the Essential package include all terrestrial channels and More4? All channels in each package should be detailed along with catchup abilities please.

Choose team replying to Ross Connell
14 January 2024

Hi Ross, Virgin Stream offers access to Freeview without any monthly subscription cost (that would cover terrestrial channels). The Essential Entertainment add-on is a premium channel pack with the channels, such as Sky Max, listed in the article above. Hope this helps

Ronald Wison
17 November 2023

Can I stream existing virgin channels to other TVs in my house at no extra cost?

Choose team replying to Ronald Wison
14 January 2024

Hi Ronald, Virgin Stream doesn't offer multiroom yet, so customers can only have one Stream box. Virgin TV 360 offers up to two additional mini boxes with a multiroom subscription. You can read more about that in our main Virgin TV packages guide. Hope this helps

Which broadband & TV deals are available in your area?

independent comparison

We are independent of all of the products and services we compare.

fair comparison

We order our comparison tables by price or feature and never by referral revenue.

charity donations and climate positive

We donate at least 5% of our profits to charity, and we have a climate positive workforce.

Get insider tips and the latest offers in our newsletter